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San Francisco Residents Voice Concerns over Toxins from Hunters Point Shipyard


Hunters Point Shipyard was a heavily used naval base from 1941 until 1974. When the base was closed the property was leased to a large machine shop. Today, the property is being given a new lease on life by a major property development firm.

The redevelopment promises new productive use of the land, but many area residents have major concerns. These concerns were brought to light again last month at City Hall when the Board of Supervisors held a hearing about the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) and the developers. This was due to allegations that the public was not being informed of unsafe levels of asbestos in the area..

Asbestos is not the only concern for nearby residents who may be exposed to contaminants in dust blown from the redevelopment site. During the areas use as a naval base it housed the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory that conducted radiation experiments and decontaminated warships that had been exposed to atomic blasts. The private company that took over the space after the naval base was closed was then found guilty of storing and disposing of hazardous compounds at the site.

All the way back in 1989 the area was named as one of the nationís worst toxic sites and was included in the National Priorities List by the federal government. So far only 75 acres of the over 500 acres has been handed over to the redevelopers who plan to develop luxury condos on the initial parcel of land. To ensure the future safety of building occupants and to prevent any contamination from causing concerns for nearby residents, it is essential to conduct extensive testing and monitoring both before and during the project. If conducted properly, this once abandoned wasteland will receive a new lease on life without causing health and safety issues or environmental damage.

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